Nostalgia – It creeps up when you least expect it.

November 4, 2010

The other day, I stumbled upon a this movie on Door Sixteen’s blog and man did it take me back to college. Freshman year, our foundation professor, Gretchen, showed this to us. I believe it was right before we had an assignment to photograph a sculpture we’d just built, to give us some insight into perspective. It’s a pretty cool video, though I remember being bored by the end. I get it already!! Let’s get on with the work!

As I watched this, I began to think of the other videos we’d watched in classes. (more…)


Who knew I was a fan of French poetic realism?

October 1, 2009

Actually, who even knew French poetic realism existed? I harbor an affinity for Casablanca, and Pèpè le Moko might be even better than Casablanca. Last night we decided to do dinner and a movie, but we didn’t think we had any Moroccan-themed movies (actually, we were right). Inspired by the Frenchie music playing at the time, I suggested one of the French movies from the boxset I bought from Janus a while back (one of the best impulse purchases ever made). We settled on Pèpè le Moko, not caring what it was about, but it ended up fitting our theme perfectly. Set in the Casbah of Algiers, Pèpè is a jewel thief that “is a wanted man: women long for him, rivals hope to destroy him, and the law is breathing down his neck at every turn.” (From the Criterion site, seriously, could I write a better line?)

It’s a love story, action-packed; it keeps you hanging on the edge of your seat waiting to see what turn the plot will take next. There’s empathy felt for the smooth-talking, womanizing main character; there’s beautiful set and costume design. It hearkens back to a different time, a 1950s feel. So it floored me today when I realized this movie was made in 1937. 1937?? I thought movies back then were simplistic, possibly even silent. This! This was very modern feel… well, for 1937 it was a modern feel. I guess Casablanca was a 40s movie, though, so not so far off.

End result of the night: wonderful meal, wonderful food, wonderful company. Lingering memories and photos.


Summertime and yearning for Venice

March 4, 2009

I’ve been on a bit of a consumption binge lately. Needing to consume – purchasing, consuming movies, books, knowledge. Just trying to break out of my rut, watching the same Family Guy episode for the umpteenth time while glazed over.

This weekend I watched Summertime, a movie from the 50s starring Katharine Hepburn. I’m not sure that I have ever seen one of Hepburn’s movies before, but I decided I really don’t care for her. At all.

However, the movie itself was good. It had technicolor on its side, and it was set in Venice which made me long for another trip there. It’s already being planned in my head. Heavy wine drinkers need apply.

One of the things that struck me about this movie was Hepburn’s character – she arrives in Venice, and she carries this film camera with her everywhere, capturing every moment, preserving it on film. She doesn’t really experience anything – the only contact she really has at this point is with the other tourists at the hotel. A hot blonde and her artist boyfriend, the proprietor of the hotel (who offers her some fine Italian drink, which she decides to mix with bourbon), and some tourist-old-couple she met on the water taxi.

Then she meets a man – the man. He sets her heart (or something else) aflutter, but she spends the next half hour acting like an ass instead of enjoying the moment. Then she gives in, and the camera disappears. She begins to experience Venice, experience love and life, and the camera is no where in sight for the rest of the movie. Of course, I guess she should have acted like an ass – turns out he is married. But that is beside the point.

I have to wonder if the obsolete camera is intentional as she begins to experience Venice. Does this mean David Lean felt the same way I do? That the camera somehow abstracts you from reality, from the moment, even though it is capturing that moment for a lifetime or more? That the camera interferes with your ability to experience by placing a mechanical device and a lens between you and life?